Sheriff investigates email threat to leader of 'Indivisible Winchester'

Protesters in Winchester, Va. (ABC7)

Lisa Holliday remembers the first time she opened a February 6th email, now the focus of a police investigation.

“It was alarming, and I don’t alarm easily,” she recalls. “I was definitely disturbed by the language in there, very threatening.”

Holliday, a registered republican, is the founder of the government watchdog group ‘Indivisible Winchester’.

She insists the group is not an anti-Trump organization, but is resisting the president’s agenda.

And she’s concerned about how divided the nation is right now.

“That does put a target on my back,” Holliday says. “I would hope on both sides of this issue, political whatever side anybody’s on, that we really cease and desist from treating each other that way.”

The message came just days after the group’s first public meeting in Winchester.

About one-hundred people attended, and the local paper covered the story, which included her picture and her name.

Then the email showed up in her in box.

It demanded Holliday to stop her political activities.

“Be assured our message will be delivered ‘cold’ and perhaps publicly, privately, directly or maybe indirectly through other embarrassing or uncomfortable means,” the email said.

In a closing section, the sender wrote “if you elect to ignore what I have said, there will be a price to pay, which I’m quite sure you will regret.”

Holliday turned the message over to the Clarke County Sheriff’s office.

“There was no real physical threats made,” says sheriff Anthony Roper. “But they just were challenging everything she said.”

The department is now investigating to find the email’s source, and see if the message reaches the level of a criminal act.

Roper says this will not be an easy case to solve.

For example, investigators will have to determine if a specific person typed the email.

“We agree this particular language may or may not be a criminal threat,” he says. “But it’s obvious they’re trying to intimidate a message that somebody’s going forward with.”

This is not just about emails, Indivisible group members say.

During one recent protest, members say they were confronted with threats and intimidation.

“The reaction was very hostile,” Christopher Monroe recalls. “We had obscene gestures all day long. We were cursed at.”

But Donald Copeland, a Trump supporter, says groups like Holliday’s need to give the new administration a chance.

He says he believes in Mr. Trump, and that both sides need to cut down on the rhetoric.

“It is wrong for you to threaten people,” Copeland says. “They have the right to feel what they want to feel. If they feel the president isn’t right, that’s their prerogative.”

The Indivisible Winchester group says it’s moved it’s meeting from a local church to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, because of security reasons.

Roper says investigators will eventually turn over their findings to the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors will then have to decide whether criminal charges should be filed.

“Our investigators will determine if there has been a threat, a legal threat,” the sheriff says. “If the prosecutors can say if (the email sender) violated the law.”

Weeks after the delivery of that email, Holliday says she’s continuing her political activism, but will be more cautious as well.

“I don’t frighten easily, but it changed how I live my life. Been very careful where I go,” she says. “I think it’s bad for everybody when stuff like this happens,” she adds.

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